-Score: Saint Michael's 83, Assumption 80
-Records: Assumption (7-17, 3-15 NE10), Saint Michael's (6-17, 3-15 NE10)
-Location: Worcester, Mass. (Laska Gym)
-The Lead: Saint Michael's used a hot start to jump out to a 45-30 lead at half, but Assumption came all but all way back to pull within two points multiple times in the last 10 minutes, and a last-second game-tying three was off the mark as the Purple Knights held on for the 83-80 victory
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- Saint Michael's started hot making a few big shots early to jump out to an 18-11 lead at 12:55. Assumption responded with the next 11 points, highlighted by a pair of Matthew Kelly (North Potomac, Md. / Quince Orchard) triples and Branislav Vujadinovic (Belgrade, Serbia / St. Joseph) added a three of his own to take a 22-18 lead midway through the period. Trailing 22-20, Saint Michael's went on a 13-0 run to take a 33-22 lead. The Purple Knights continued their run as they close out the first half with a 45-40 advantage.
- Assumption picked it up in the second half, as Kelly ignited the Hound offense with a deep three-pointer which started a 9-0 run and trimmed the Purple Knight lead to 10. With 13:00 minutes left to play Kelly hit another three pointer and two free throws to dropped the Assumption deficit to five, 59-53. Minutes later he went on a personal 5-2 run to cut the contest to just 63-61 with 9:30 remaining.
- The teams traded baskets over the next five minutes and Nick Pasquale (Shrewsbury, Mass. / Worcester Academy) trimmed it to just two points, 70-68. Levi Holmes III made a pair of three pointers with a hand in his face to put the Purple Knights back up eight. With a minute left, Vujadinovic connected on a triple and then found Joe Sullivan (Utica, N.Y. / Notre Dame HS / Mohawk Valley CC) under the basket for a 5-0 run in 30 seconds to make it 77-80. Kelly swished a three with nine seconds left, cutting it to two, and after one made free throw Assumption had time for one last shot, but Kelly's triple was off the mark.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS:
- Assumption shot 49.1 percent overall while making 12 of 30 threes and going 12-for-14 from the charity stripe. Saint Michael's shot 50.9 percent overall, while shooting 41.7 percent from the three-point line. The Hounds were outrebounded 34-29, but forced the Purple Knights into 11 turnovers and scored 12 points off those turnovers.
- Kelly led the offense with 26 points, three rebounds, six assists while Vujadinovic scored 14 points with three boards and three assists. Sullivan was strong inside with 11 points and nine boards, and Patrick Fleming (Dobbs Ferry, N.Y. / Iona Prep) was solid as he had 11 points, five boards and seven assists.
- Holmes III led the Purple Knight offense with an impressive 33 points along with five boards. Eli DiGrande added 15 points and eight rebounds.
- Assumption will travel to Franklin Pierce to face the Ravens on Wednesday Feb. 14 at 7:30 pm.